The advent of 3G set the ball rolling for a smartphone revolution in India. Improving connectivity tipped the scales in favor of smartphones and today these devices are the preferred choice for all digital content and Internet access by the country's populace.
However, since then, smartphones have come to offer a lot more for a lot lesser price. Obviously, connectivity had to upgrade itself to meet the demand. Over the last year, telecom providers in India such as Airtel and Vodafone introduced 4G services. Now, Reliance has jumped into the fray with its Jio 4G services. The rise of 4G in the country presents a fresh new opportunity for advertisers to engage their audience on mobile.
India at a cusp of a 4G revolution
When 4G services were just about making an entry into the country, the country's tech-savvy smartphone users were already ahead of the curve. According to IDC estimates, 4G smartphone shipments grew at a CAGR of 70% between Q2'15 and Q1'2016. The average cost of 4G smartphones has also gone down from Rs 25,000 to Rs 5000 this year.
According to its Q4 FY 2015-16 annual report, Airtel's 4G subscriber base has already crossed 5 million and now accounts for 1/7th of its mobile broadband user base. Also, the addition of more players to the 4G game has seen service providers such as Airtel and Idea slash their 4G tariffs, offering as much as 67% more data at the same price.
It is estimated that by March 2018, India will have over 300 million 3G & 4G subscribers of which 210 million will be 4G.
Better user experiences, greater engagement opportunities
The rise of 4G will particularly benefit video and audio-based services as faster data rates means smartphone users will be able to now enjoy a high-quality video and audio experience. It is estimated that video will account for 72% of India's mobile data traffic by 2020, as compared to 40% that was at the end of 2015.
A one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% drop in conversions. However, faster data connectivity will only ensure that the user experience is seamless, lag-free and transactions are quicker. This potentially means increase in the number of transactions driving tangible outcome for the advertisers.
The ability to offer a richer a video ad experience means marketers will bank more video ads. In fact, in 2015, online video ad spends grew by 173% over the previous year, the fastest among all display ad formats. Now, marketers can leverage videos to their full potential as the connectivity helps deliver an uninterrupted high quality video ad experience. It's not just in-stream, pre-roll or post-roll ads in videos but marketers can also start leveraging out-stream video ads within app content to make advertising more engaging and immersive.
Marketers, it's time to take your mobile marketing surfboards out get ready to ride the swelling 4G growth wave.